(Video courtesy of UStream and Zuffa, LLC.)
Saturday night the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil once again plays host to the Ultimate Fighting Championships for UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar. Savvy submission specialist Demian Maia (16-4) hopes to find continued success at welterweight against the always dangerous “Horror” Rick Story (14-5). “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (9-1) and “Caldeiro” Wagner Prado (8-0) hope to redeem their unfortunate No Contest from UFC on Fox 4 while Jon Fitch (23-4-1) looks to rebound from a knockout loss against fast-rising Brazilian powerhouse “Indio” Erick Silva (14-2). “Minotauro” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1) looks to rack up two wins in Rio against “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-4). The co-main event was saved as Fabio Maldonado (18-5) stepped in to replace “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (32-10) against the man few want to face in Glover Teixeira (18-2). The main event pits two unlikely foes against each other as the affable “American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (15-7) takes on the man many consider the pound-for-pound best Mixed Martial Artist in the world, “The Spider” Anderson Silva (32-4). This bizarre late replacement fight has many scratching their heads, but do not be fooled: both men bring a particular set of skills (thanks, Liam Neeson) that can make this fight one that will be talked about for a long time.
Amid the ever-growing host of lawsuits against streaming sites and their users that pirate UFC events, UFC President Dana White has in recent weeks mentioned a handful of possible futures for the MMA promotion’s future on television. While he has stated that the format of major events on Pay-Per-View supplemented by free TV prelims, The Ultimate Fighter, and free-on-TV minor events such as UFC on FX cards will likely remain in place for some time, both the UFC boss and the fans have kicked around several alternatives, some of which may render online piracy of the PPV events moot if not eliminate the damage they cause altogether. Among these have been ideas where Pay-Per-Views can be purchased in a subscription service similar to the way major sports leagues allow fans to purchase out-of-market games with products like NFL Sunday Ticket or NHL Center Ice and even a complete departure from the PPV arena into a totally broadcast/cable TV approach. From a quick outside glance, either of these options appears to be an easy fix that is win-win for the UFC and the fans, but even when the details fans can’t possibly know about the behind-the-scenes business aspects of making such deals work are taken out, there still are several drawbacks that come with such arrangements. For instance, while putting every fight on “free TV” may sound like a huge win for the fans, there are some benefits of the PPV format that are taken for granted because the UFC has always been a Pay-Per-View first product.
“Pitbull” Thiago Alves (19-9) has had mixed success inside the Octagon over the past two years, going 2-2 in his last four bouts. His March 2 pairing at UFC on FX 2 in Sydney, Australia against “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (19-5) went from being a certain victory to an embarrassing failure with one poor decision. With only 48 seconds left in the third round of a bout Alves was dominating, Kampmann took advantage of a takedown and locked on a Guillotine Choke just moments after being rocked on the feet. Now Alves has only two wins in his past five fights, though in those losses he remained aggressive and competitive. The questions surrounding the former title challenger to the welterweight title do not involve his fire to compete or his personal life. They focus on his abilities to control his impulses and the decisions he must now make in his career. The answers to those questions may be hard pills to swallow.
Dominique “Fallen Angel” Robinson is the man. We’ve had him and his friend and training partner, fighter James “9 Knuckles” Chaney on the radio show and they were both awesome cats. I’ve kept in touch with them on Twitter and when I heard they’d be out here in Vegas for Dom’s fight with Anderson Silva’s student Paulo Bananada at Superior Cage Combat 4, I had to go. The rest of the card had some impressive names too – like UFC vets Kendall Grove vs. Jay Silva in the main event.
Anyway, the kind folks at SCC gave me a press pass, despite my frequent assertions that I’m not a journalist. Hey, I’m better than a journalist; I’m a social media juggernaut. In fact, to their immense credit, when I offhandedly suggested via Twitter that they give a ticket to my Twitter friend and ammy fighter Jeff Wright, they did! All he had to do was live tweet the event and keep me company… and buy me a beer. Those last two were my stipulations. And for the record, he only lived up to the first two. He still owes me a beer.
It’s been three days since Nick Diaz lost to Carlos Condit for the interim UFC welterweight title. Three days of controversy, outrage and suffering…Well, for me it was suffering. I wanted Nick to win. I wanted Nick to fight Georges St. Pierre and to beat him. I wanted the fearless, scrappy kid from Stockton to overthrow the Canadian golden boy and bring some excitement and “fuck you” attitude back to MMA.
However, unlike most Nick Diaz fans, I couldn’t find solace in thinking that the loss was a “robbery” or that Condit just “ran away” the whole fight because both of those sentiments are ridiculous. I’m blessed and cursed with having the ability to see things from a lot of different angles and perspectives and not just the ones that fit into my desired reality. So, it’s not so easy for me to come to terms with certain things without that ability to just ignore certain facts. But after days of absorbing everything that I saw Saturday night as I sat in my awesome seats at Mandalay Bay like a pimp and all the different points of view that fans have shared via that beautiful yet diseased harlot I like to call “the internet”, I’ve got some things worked out. I suffer, struggle, and come up with answers and now share them with you so that you may be saved. Kinda like Jesus… okay, exactly like Jesus.
The following excerpts were posted Monday on the UG forums by three-time UFC veteran “Big Sexy” Sean McCorkle (13-2) in response to recent claims that the promotion vastly underpays its contracted fighters. An investigative documentary series produced by ESPN, “Outside the Lines”, brought the alleged issue to light in a big way late last week when it put the UFC on blast with claims that the company is building itself into a monopoly, making billions annually while paying fighters only a small percentage of its revenue. While the majority of the figures stated in the ESPN documentary came from either anonymous sources, a licensed attorney who has been attempting to unionize fighters for years, or from fighters who have had a falling out with the UFC in the past, the “Outside the Lines” episode has made an impact on the MMA community due to a large number of casual fans viewing ESPN as a reliable source for sports related news. “Big Sexy” felt the exposé portrayed the UFC’s payroll inaccurately, and detailed his own experiences with the UFC’s pay structure during his six-month stint as a UFC heavyweight:
UFC 140. What can you say? “Wow”, “Holy Shit”, “Didn’t see that coming” All the above. Let’s just break this crazy card down, shall we?
Dennis Hallman vs. John Makdessi: Hallman via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1
Hallman, who didn’t make weight and who famously horrified Dana White with his blue micro-speedos at UFC 133, took Makdessi down, controlled him, beat him up and eventually choked him out – and saved himself from a certain firing if he had lost. He then told Joe Rogan that he hopes Jesus comes soon because “we’re barely hanging on”…okay. That was creepy. Made even more creepy by Hallman’s lisp. Just sayin’.